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{From the 2024 Home & Lifestyle Magazine}

(left): Courtesy of Thermador Freedom Induction | (right): Courtesy of Monogram Induction Cooking

I was so excited when my induction cooktop was installed, that I had to write to you all about it! It’s fast, clean and simply feels gourmet! 

There were several reasons why I chose to change my stove top cooking format from gas to induction. But before I get into that, let me educate you on what induction cooking is; how does it work? A copper coil under the cooktop creates electromagnetic energy. This magnetic energy interacts directly with the cookware to make it hot. Okay…blah, blah blah…The short of it is…heat is not created by fire or a hot coil, its created by a magnetic force that directly heats the pan, bypassing the surface. This allows the entire cooktop unit to be only a few inches in height, salvaging the use of a top drawer just under your counter surface. Of course, there are perimeters, but we can leave that to individual kitchen design discussions. 

With that being said, I’d like to share with you a few reasons why I chose induction for my personal kitchen renovation. To start, we knew this renovation was to get us through the next 20 years in our home. New regulations are beginning to take hold across the country banning the use of natural gas. No, no one will be taking away what you have, but like the incandescent light bulb of the past, replacements will be hard to find. 

Secondly, as we began aging, the chore of cleaning the gas top and individual grates became more of a labor than a labor-of-love. We are messy cooks, but I’m a fanatic about a clean kitchen at the end of the day. As my range began to age, the years of scrubbing began to show. Personally, I wanted an easier clean up but I knew from experience that electric cooktops and I did not get along. So, when induction cooking began to gain more interest in the kitchen design world, I took notice. I had the opportunity to go to some impressive showrooms around the country and try top of the line appliances…induction cooking was one of them! It was a done deal! Here are some of the things I’ve learned personally about induction cooking:

• The control of heat is just as effective as a gas range. Induction cooktops can melt chocolate and sear a scallop. 

• The response of the cooktop pan heat is instantaneous. Because the surface does not get hot first, does not retain any heat in and of itself, when the “magnetic field” is reduced or turned off, the heat change is immediate.

• Because heat is not lost to the cooking surface first, the items being cooked heat faster than with conventional cooking. For instance, I can bring 8 cups of cold tap water in an 8-quart pot to a full rapid boil in 3.57 minutes. That’s fast!

• Because the cooktop surface itself does not get hot - only the pan - splatter or spills do not bake onto your surface when cooking. In fact, I can clean the glass surface around my pan WHILE I’m cooking, without my hand getting burned. But mind you, the pan is hot! 

Colleen at the Signature Kitchen Suite Showroom in California

• Many of the induction cooking surfaces also have the ability to sync burners. This means that if you have a large skillet that would normally be used across two cooking areas, this cooktop combines the two surfaces into one…without the gap in heat in the middle! No more half cooked pancakes for the center of your skillet! In addition, there’s also some cooking surfaces that have no particular set area to place your pan, you can cook anywhere, move your pan and the cooktop will follow. Try that with a gas cooktop!

• For aging in place, many of the induction cooktops will also sense if the pan has a spill over or is burning due to being left and forgotten and will automatically shut off. Likewise, because the surface does not produce a flame or red-hot heat coil, there’s no danger of an accidental fire from loose clothing or a towel left nearby. 

• Most induction cooktops can link to your phone via
Wi-Fi. So many people ask, “Why is this important?” Several reasons…I know when my cooktop is being used, even if I am in California! So, if my child was cooking on it and I was at an appointment, I would know! Some of the cooktops also have Bluetooth capabilities that actually talk to Bluetooth pans!

• Get ready for this…if you’re using a cast iron pan and you’re afraid it may scratch the glass surface, put a sheet of parchment paper between the glass and pan. No, it will not burn. Remember, the surface of the cooktop is not hot, in and of itself. It is only as hot as the heat coming back off the pan. 

With every pro there is a con. So, let’s chat about some of the negative reasons people have for not giving induction a try. 

• The biggest statement I hear is “I will have to buy special pans” My response, “I bet you have pans in your arsenal right now that would work.” Here’s the test…if a magnet will stick to the bottom of your pan, it will cook on an induction cooktop. But mind you, like all cooking ware, the higher grade the cooking pan, the greater performance in cooking you will achieve.  Yes, I purchased a few nice professional pans for my new kitchen because I wanted to, but I retained my large 24-quart stock pot for making sauce that I’ve used for years. And cast-iron works marvelously!! Don’t throw out the pans with the old kitchen, people! 

• One con, which is only temporary, is a learning curve on cooking. Because the cooktop heats up so fast, you need to pay more attention to how fast your food is cooking and at what level of heat works best for the type of cooking you’re doing. It took us a matter of days to make the adjustments. 

• Probably the only true con is the humming noise an induction cooktop will make. Much like a gas stove makes a hiss, if you’ve cooked with gas for a period of time, you don’t even hear it any longer. One caveat, and this is where I may change my thinking on lighting control…induction cooktops do not play nice with dimmer switches for your lighting. The more lights you have on a dimmer, the louder the buzz of your induction surface when set to higher temperatures, such as boiling water. However, this noise is no louder than the water boiling itself.  If you have two lights over your island on a dimmer, you’ll probably not even notice a change. But…if the majority of your kitchen lights are operated by dimmers and they’re all turned on, then you may experience a louder chatter when your induction cooktop is turned on high. Personally, I love my induction cooktop so much, the noise is now dismissed when I cook. And because it only occurs while using the highest settings, it wouldn’t deter me from buying another induction surface. 

All-in-all, induction cooking is beginning to take a greater hold of the cooking market. It’s not your mother’s kitchen anymore! Many showrooms have active induction cooking stations including the new CMC Design Studio! Take a bold new look at the future of cooking. And if you need help designing that new kitchen, give me a call!

(left): The induction cooktop surface does not get hot - only the pan. Note the ice cubes are not melting! Photo courtesy CMC Design Studio, LLC

Until next time my friends,

Colleen Coleman of CMC Design Studio LLC
Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer
Certified Aging in Place • True Color Expert
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“Creating Environments for Life” TM